Government & Politics
Jindal’s tax-swap outline to legislators leaves many questions unanswered — The Lens | Gov. Bobby Jindal described his overhaul of Louisiana’s tax structure Thursday. The Lens’ Tyler Bridges examines some of the biggest initial questions about the proposal, including exactly how the plan will blunt the regressive effects of the “tax swap” on retirees and the poor.
Under Jindal’s “revenue neutral” plan, state sales taxes would increase by nearly half, from 4 percent to 5.88 percent, to offset a $3 billion repeal of state corporate and income taxes. If implemented, Louisiana would have the highest average state and local sales tax rate in the country. Taxes on cigarettes would go up by more than a dollar per pack. Many tax exemptions, including some that effect the oil and gas industry, would be eliminated, and the sales tax “base” would be selectively broadened to cover certain services:
Doctors, lawyers and financial advisers would not have to face the new state sales tax of 5.88 cents for their services. Hairdressers, cable TV companies, tanning salons and pet groomers would.
Bridges also wrote a play-by-play of the administration’s presentation.
Jindal tax plan unveiled to legislators — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune | This article provides a handy chart enumerating the tax swap’s anticipated costs and expenditures. There’s also reaction from supporters and opponents of the plan:
“When is the last time that Governor Jindal and his administration has gotten budget numbers right? I don’t know,” [Rep. John Bel Edwards] said. …
The Tax Foundation praised Jindal’s proposal Thursday, noting that it would simplify the state’s tax system and could move Louisiana from 32nd to fourth on the organization’s “Business Climate Index.”
Jindal plan would remove income, raise sales taxes – Associated Press | Executive Counsel for the Louisiana Department of Revenue Tim Barfield stressed the benefits of simplifying the state tax laws: “Barfield said Louisiana was still operating off a tax code devised in the Huey Long-era, with some exemptions that date back to 1922. He said Louisiana currently has a low tax burden when exemptions are considered, but he said the system is complex and difficult to navigate.”
Jindal tax swap plan: State sales tax increases to 5.88 percent — Gambit | Charles Maldonado fact-checks Jindal’s claim about job creation in states without an income tax: “Over the last ten years, more than 60 percent of the three million new jobs in American were created by the nine states without an income tax.” Maldonado points out that some of the job-generating states Jindal refers to use a variety of different tax structures, including business taxes, to recoup the shortfall. And as I noted in the comments on that story, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 5 million jobs were created over the past decade, not 3 million.
Jindal’s model for tax reform — The Great Debate — Reuters | Anti-tax conservatives Grover G. Norquist and Patrick Gleason are thrilled by the proposal. “Jindal unveiled what could be, if approved by the legislature, the boldest, most pro-growth state tax reform in U.S. history.”
Lucky Duckies: Jindal tax plan forces poor to pay their fair share — Something Like the Truth | Blogger Robert Mann isn’t impressed. “A consumption-based system is little more than over-reliance on regressive sales taxes which fall disproportionately on poor and middle-income taxpayers to fund huge income tax cuts for the wealthy.”
Teacher paid $43,000 bonus as part of New Beginnings charter school incentive system — The Lens | The large (and lopsided) payouts “show how one charter school organization has tried to get its teachers to perform in the face of high-stakes student testing.”
Orleans Parish School Board hopes to lure state takeover schools back to local control — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune | An Orleans school board committee “gave their approval to a bill that would let returning charter schools continue to receive federal funds directly, as they do in the Recovery School District, without the board taking a cut.” The Lens’ Jessica Williams’ has explored the direct-funding issue in depth.
Walker and Landry merger opponents air frustrations before BESE members — The Lens | “Three of Louisiana’s top education officials got an earful Wednesday night from Algiers community members resistant to the planned merger of two rival high schools.”
River Birch probe’s sudden end leaves tough choices for Henry Mouton and others who admitted guilt | NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune | “Experts said the men face a delicate choice: Do they stick with their agreements … or do they try to get out of their guilty pleas at the risk of facing possibly harsher punishment if they fail?”
Media lawsuit over criminal court judges’ life insurance policies delayed again — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune | At the request of the defendants — the court, the chief judge and the judicial administrator — the suit is being amended to add as defendants all the judges who took out policies.
The Devastating Impact of Persistent Crime on Teens – Chantal Hailey – The Atlantic Cities – “To interrupt the cycle of crime in low-income communities and the generations of youth severely traumatized by their exposure to violence, we must do more than enact laws to deter crime.”
Interior Dept. allows BP to bid on Gulf leases, with conditions — Fuel Fix – “The Interior Department will allow BP to bid in next week’s Gulf of Mexico lease sale, despite its suspension from obtaining new federal contracts. … While it hasn’t said it plans to bid, BP is the largest leaseholder in the Gulf and is a major player.”
Feds release findings from Arctic drilling probe — Fuel Fix | “‘Shell screwed up in 2012,’ [Interior Secretary Ken] Salazar told reporters on a conference call. ‘And we’re not going to let them screw up (again).'”
One lane — Library Chronicles | Local blogger Jeffrey says a dedicated lane for the new Marigny streetcar is a bad idea. “Whatever advantage the streetcar gains from having its own lane is exceeded by the negative effect of reducing a key cross-town avenue to only one lane each direction.”